Rotten To The Core – Wounded Touch’s Tender Blasting Barrage

I actually had a few bands lined up to include in a Grind My Gears/Rotten To The Core collab feature today – a couple of rough and tough hardcore/metalcore bands alongside some UK powerviolence and US grind phenoms – but I’m saving that for next week now. This week I’m focusing on just one release that I feel deserves the attention (and will surely pick up quite a lot of that attention in the weeks to come) of at least 500 words. You can count ’em. Up next, Wounded Touch‘s rousing hybrid of dark hardcore and open-hearted angst. Think Nails without all the posturing. And then just stop listening to Nails.

This one is a doozy. From one of the minds behind 2017’s sleeper AOTY (my opinion, better than yours) – Sunlight’s Bane‘s The Blackest Volume (Like All the Earth Was Buried) – Nicholas David brought his new project to life with the intention of being as open and earnest as he had ever been. With the rest of the band earning their plaudits through pummeling, skin-blistering performances, Wounded Touch’s debut From Day 0 Forward employs a metalcore sound that churns up from the carnal ‘core of the early years of the decade; without ever sounding like a throwback act. It’s a lot easier said than done these days, turning a much-maligned sound into something older fans and modern audiences can both enjoy. Lead single “Excision” slams through a range of beats that could each anchor a rousing, rambunctious hardcore track in 2019. The video, however, might as well have been made between stops on a tour featuring Poison The Well, Botch, and Misery Signals. Look at that hue!

The tar-thick bass and guitars cement the ground using the Ben Koller-appropriate percussive battery throughout From Day 0 Forward, but it’s David’s lyrics and vocals which pull everything together, even in smaller moments that you could miss on first listen. You shouldn’t, but you might. The call-and-response gang vocal and shout that closes “A Hell I No Longer Deserve” are charmingly effective at pulling together what feels like an immensely personal song to perform.

“No path led from Hell, so I made one.”

The glitching and stuttering vocal effect on closer “My Fractured Path” brings down the curtain on a personal, pissed off performance approaching year-end list levels. After all of the throbbing force that precedes it, a little touch of melody and the blending in of a sombre key brings everything back around, all but enforcing the need for another listen through. You’d be daft not to. Dafty. This record sounds like a small, intense show. You can feel the dense pull of a room full of souls, all looking at the backlit sight of David – steam pouring off his body and sweat flying from his bandmates as they thrash their bodies and instruments in unison. It’s barely ten minutes long, so fully deserves a spot in a grindcore column. It doesn’t belong to one genre tag that I like to use though, but that’s a good thing.

From Day 0 Forward is out tomorrow, November 1st. You can get it from Smartpunk Records here. Find Wounded Touch here.

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The longer the note, the more dread